Photos sent to us by William Wiesmann in April 2016. These photos are a great addition to our history. Thank you, William!


This is William Wiesmann, a valuable member of the earthmoving squad. I could always depend on him. William's nickname is "Buckeye".

   Thomas Bourne working on SSG Barajas' famous supply truck. I don't know who the bigger guy is. Bourne did an amazing job! We traded a VC rifle for the truck in Saigon.


Hey, don't call this dog ugly! He is "Builder", my beloved dog who howls in order to warn us of mortar attacks.

A view of a couple of our bunkers. We actually liked them!


Typical downtown scene in Rach Kein.

Our mobile crane. The white stuff on the ground is lime, which is about to get mixed with the delta mud to make a school building pad.


This is a great photo of our front gate. The sign was a gift from LTC Gray. Mike Jiminez and his squad put it up.

 Hillegas on our dozer. He is building a school building pad. Our D6 was rugged. So was Hillegas.


This a great view of the rear of our tower. It is later in 1968 and the Vietnamese have made some additions. In the front is SSG's famous resupply (scrounging) truck. Note the furniture piled up to be delivered to one of our new schools.

  Memorial to MAJ Dong, our Vietnamese District Chief who was killed in a firefight. We built the memorial out of concrete block. A Vietnamese mason put the beautiful finish on it.


Nice view of the public market in Can Guioc. We later built another one right next to it. It really helped the merchants/farmers to be out of the sun and rain.

Snider and Wiesmann. Don't remember the other guy. Howard was our best soldier.


Our crane building a school site. The lime on the ground is about to be mixed with the delta mud to make a dependable and strong building pad. This was a TFB innovation that saved much time and money.

    Sunning on the front porch with his puppy.


    Our water trailer bathing facility. In the background is our outhouse that is built out over the swamp.

Rifles and flak jackets stacked at the ready at a jobsite.


Our Vietnamese workers mixing mortar for the masons. The masons were very particular about the quality of their mortar. It had to be perfect for their rapid block laying work. Each one could lay 600 block a day, triple the output of a union mason in the USA. Our mason's success led our rapid construction pace.

Headed for the Outhouse


Our convoy lined up for loading in the morning before we set out for the jobsites


Plowing the rice paddy. The water buffalo were dangerous to us, but totally gentle around the Vietnamese who used them.


School walls going up. The wide sturdy concrete porch was very distinctive on our schools. It was covered by a wide roof overhang.

Our Vietnamese workers loaded up in SFC Miller's truck. We became very close  over the months. They seemed like family. Many of them cried when we disbanded. Our trucks got shabby looking from lack of maintenance from the battalion.


We did all our own maintenance because we could not depend on our battalion. Tom Bourne, and then Harry Johnson, were great and gifted mechanics.

Hillegas and Wiesmann hard at work. They are inflating balls for the local school kids.


A firing post on top of a bunker. The half-round culvert pipe is bullet proof. The sandbags inside the ring are to support a M60 machinegun.

Wiesmann and the earthmoving squad's 5 ton truck. Rugged and Dependable.

Richard Dinius had taught himself to speak Vietnamese, so he was a big hit with the kids. He was also kind and gentle. He was once able to find out about an ambush set for us because he knew the language.

John Baca taking a break. He was our base camp radioman, keeping us in contact with the battalion, and monitoring our convoys. He had a great attitude, and his dependability really came in handy several times in ambush situations. He died at the age of 33 in an auto crash in Texas. I miss him.

This M42 "Duster" was part of our security blanket. It fired twin 40mm guns with devastating firepower. It covered the Western no-mans land near our base camp. I had served in Panama with some of the crew members. Small world! They had no cover over their turret, and had to hide under the M42 during mortar attacks.

Our D6 working on a school site. The extra steel plate in the center of the front blade is for protection against larger land mines.


Maintenance on the road grader. Hillegas in front.


Typical rural scene. The building with no walls is where they dry their rice.


Making some road repairs. The fill dirt/gravel we hauled in with our 5 ton dump truck.


The bridge at Cau Tram. It is an American Bailey prefab bridge. The soldier is not one of us. He carries an M16 and has a new uniform. We used the M14 rifle. We built a 6 room school and two village markets and a medical clinic here.


A typical village house. Normally the Vietnamese are fastidious, but the war's devastation shows everywhere as much gets run-down and damaged.

This is the market that we built at Can Guioc, using the materials we had available. Lt. Mac and SFC Miller designed it. A  local policeman is checking it out.


An M79 grenade launcher at the ready for instant response to an ambush. Our quick response to any ambush was critical to our survival.


Our beloved Coca Cola girl. Always at the jobsite, never with ice. Howard Snider was reportedly her best customer, leading to much speculation about a romantic entanglement. But Howard was so shy that her virtue remained safe.


Another school goes up. We built 18 schools in 12 months. Not bad for 60 guys, most with no prior construction experience. But we worked hard and innovated.

In the midst of filth and dirt, our Vietnamese workers always managed to look spotless. How did they do it?

Don Doss is shaving. We all used a local mirror that we bought at the downtown Rach Kein marketplace to shave. Notice that the back is made from beer cans. The Vietnamese were incredibly resourceful.

Loading the D6 on our lowboy. Most of our heavy equipment guys went on to later in life work with heavy equipment. So this experience was valuable to them.


Driving thru a typical peaceful village. The vertical yellow rod on the front bumper is to prevent wires from being strung across the road to snare us. We watched the activity in these villages carefully, as any changes could indicate an ambush nearby.

The VC blew up our brand new school in Long Chanh. The dumb bastards! Now they will never get a new school to educate their kids.




When the VC blew up our school in Long Chanh, I was worried about the effect on morale. I held a meeting to discuss it. Very interesting. The men weren't angry, they were indignant that their gift wasn't appreciated. So we agreed to tear the school down and leave the materials for the people.  This neighbor took advantage of our offer. Considering that this simple house is all they own, the block will get put to good use somewhere.

When the earthmoving squad wasn't needed to build school pads, they did road repairs. Considering that the local people only knew exploitation, either by the government or the local VC (usually both), this help was greatly appreciated by them.


Rob Copeland, my driver and I are shopping in Saigon during our monthly shopping trip there. Our vehicles are parked in the background. Ron was a great driver, always alert and dependable. And very smart. We worked 7 days a week, so this monthly trip was a special event for us.


This is our sturdy concrete mixer that cranked out a lot of concrete during our year in the delta. The guy with the open shirt was the mixer operator, but I can't remember his name. Hillegas is fixing something. Note the concrete block in the background, hauled in from Long Binh, waiting for the next slab to be poured.



The Buddhist Temple that was right across the street from our base camp. The small green building in the left front is one of our "Refugee Houses" that we had built to help out homeless refugees. Major Dong's memorial is in front of the flag pole.





Another shot of our Saigon visit. Lt. Henry McClernan to the right. His good looks made him a favorite of the Rach Kein French Plantation widow, but then, that is a story for another day!


  William's parents kept my letter that I had sent them. I sent a similar letter to the parents of each TFB member. I had hired a Vietnamese student who was on summer leave to type them. She didn't know English, so it was a hoot getting the letters just right. But, by trial and error, and perseverance, she got them just right. She took a day to painstakingly type each letter. Some white-out would really have come in handy!